Better prospect for PH amid Umno-Bersatu split

If PH is able to win the swing seats, that could lead to its victory in the national poll

by AZREEN HANI / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

THE opposition pact may have a better prospect in the next general election as a result of the current rift between Umno and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, DAP leader Liew Chin Tong (picture) said.

The Johor DAP chairman told The Malaysian Reserve that as votes would be split between the two parties, Pakatan Harapan (PH) will have to find a formula to leverage the situation to have a convincing win.

“The break-up will give us the advantage, but more importantly is how we convince voters that we should be back to govern. We have not found a formula yet, but this should be our focus,” Liew said.

Umno leaders recently announced that the party will contest under the Barisan Nasional (BN) banner in the 15th General Election (GE15), after having reiterated the stance to break its ties with Bersatu in the recent general assembly.

In response, Bersatu and its Perikatan Nasional (PN) partner, Pas, said that they will face GE15 together and reject any possible political cooperation post the polls. Bersatu secretary general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said in a statement yesterday that the party continues to strengthen cooperation among PN members, including Pas, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku, Sabah Progressive Party and Gerakan.

Commenting on PH’s prospects, Liew said the coalition is expected to “most likely retain up to 65 seats” in the peninsula.

“This is my estimate and we accept that Umno also has its own base seats,” he explained.

Liew said most importantly now is if PH is able to win the swing seats, that could lead to its victory in the national poll.

He said there are more than 30 swing seats across the peninsula that will be up for grabs and those are mostly the Malay-majority and mixed semi-urban seats.

Liew said while the current situation seems to provide an opportunity for PH, it will take more effort for the pact to reorganise better in GE15.

“We hope we can get everyone to work together and have some form of a united Opposition, a grand coalition, as I have said it, with parties and people who have the same aspirations.

“We may not like each other personally, but we have to make things work for the nation. Personally, for me, we need to move away from one-party state thinking such as having a presidential PM (prime minister),” he said.

Liew also expressed his hopes that PH’s component party, PKR would share the same view.

“I hope PKR also shares this view about moving away from the conception of the presidential PM and the idea of a one-party state. It’s good for PKR to lead a new type of coalition to make things work,” he added.

Liew said this needs to be accepted as the current political scenario shows there will no longer be a dominant party to rule others.

“Unlike in the 80s during Tun’s (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) time, where Umno had a two-thirds majority, yes, maybe having a presidential PM worked.

“Today, no one has full control or the number to be hegemonic PM, so what should we do? We need to have a genuine coalition structure and accept a concept of an equal partnership PM,” he said.

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